Kali Protectives showed Pinkbike early prototypes of its 2014 Shiva DH lid at the last Taipei bicycle show in raw carbon. Kali founder and designer Brad Waldron told PB's Mike Kazimer there that Kali was pushing for DOT certification - a difficult test which requires in part, that the helmet survives being bashed with a series of blunt and pointed projectiles from various angles, with a measured amount of force. DOT certification is not a requirement for DH bicycle helmets, but because the speed and intensity of downhill riders approaches that of their moto counterparts, Waldron committed Kali's design team to produce a lighter, well ventilated full-face, with a slim profile, that could pass the same level of testing that their motorcycle helmets are required to meet. The Shiva, which is scheduled to arrive this summer, successfully achieved all four goals - and it looks pretty sharp, with integrated graphics that are a refreshing leap from tattoo culture to simpler, bolder racing lines. MSRP is set at $499 USD, and Waldron states that the DOT-certified Shiva will weigh under 1000 grams when Kali releases it for sale. Kali's DOT-certified Shiva is dramatically
smaller than their DOT-certified Motocross helmet.
• Purpose: DH racing, gravity sports.
• Certification: ATSM and DOT (EU certification is pending).
• Construction: Carbon fiber shell, in-molded Composite Fusion-3 dual-density liner, washable liner and cheek pads.
• Ventilation: 20 vents, 8 exhaust and 12 intake ports.
• Visor: adjustable, with replaceable breakaway insert
• Accessories: larger cheek pads, spare visor, PVO camera/light mount kit (fits insert in visor)
, carry bag.
• Sizes: X-small, small, medium, large and X-large
• Weight: Stated: 999 grams for production (actual weight for trial-production model: 1040 grams)
• MSRP: $499 USD
• Available: Summer 2014
• Contact: Kali Protectives
The Shiva's wide cutout provides unobstructed
peripheral vision and fits oversize, ski-type goggles.The
rear of the helmet features a number of L-shaped and
oval exhaust vents that are smaller than those on Kali's
Avatar full-face helmet.
Shiva Construction First Impressions
The new Shiva is a completely different helmet than Kali's current premier DH model, the Avatar Carbon 2.
The shell is more rounded at the back, with a pair of ridges running parallel on the top, where the Avatar-2 has a single fin and is more pointed in the rear. That said, the length and width of the two helmets are nearly identical. The venting strategy is also changed, presumably to shift the rear vents to stronger positions in order to pass DOT protocols. A rubber strip under the brow of the new helmet has air intakes that use the high pressure zone created by the goggles and visor to direct cooling air into channels under the internal padding. A number of L-shaped and ovalized slots in the rear of the shell act as exhaust vents. The Shiva's chin protector is much more substantial than the Avatar as well, with a pronounced I-beam profile to add strength with a minimal increase in weight, and the front-piece is taller and wider too. Peripheral vision tests validate that the only impediment to the rider's complete range of vision will be due to goggle selection and on that subject, the new Kali will accept oversized, ski-style goggles. The visor is new also, with a wider shape and more rounded bill. Kali's thumb-screw visor adjustment is integrated into a break-away insert that can be switched out with a camera mount kit that is included with the helmet, along with a spare insert and an extra visor.
Inside, Kali uses molded cheek pieces made from slow-memory foam so they will conform to individual facial profiles and feel snug without undue pressure. The beautifully crafted, washable liner snap-fits into the shell and has generous cavities for the ears - a nice touch which ensures that those who wear glasses under goggles will not have the earpieces forced against their temples. The padded retention system is the simple D-ring standard. Kali is working on adapting the Eject insert for the new Shiva, an update which is scheduled for all future helmets, although our first-production model was not equipped with it. For those unfamiliar with the Eject helmet removal system
, it is a pneumatic bladder inserted into the helmet that is inflated in an emergency situation to extract the rider's head from the helmet while minimizing trauma to the neck, head or spine.
Key to the Shiva's low weight and super-slim profile is Kali's third-generation Composite Fusion-3 EPS liner. The dual-density liner is molded with a layer of tri-sided pyramids that reportedly interact with the second EPS layer to dissipate impact energy laterally, throughout the liner. Kali has been experimenting with various shapes and arrangements of its Composite Fusion liner, and they discovered that the tri-sided spikes were notably more effective. Using the CF-3 EPS liner, in addition to molding the liner directly into the carbon fiber shell, increased the helmet's impact survivability to the extent that Kali was able to reduce the thickness of the combined liner and shell by over 30 percent, when compared its conventional DOT certified full-face helmets. The new Shiva measures only 9.1 inches wide in the medium/large size (231mm)
. A smaller, lighter helmet not only looks better, but it stores less inertia, so it puts less stress on the neck when the rider is pounding over rough ground - or when surviving a high-speed yard sale.
On the subject of weight, our large-sized test-production helmet weighed 1040 grams - 41 grams over Kali's 999-gram target for its Summer 2014 release date. While 1040 grams is light for a DOT certified full-face helmet. The Shiva's predecessor, the non-DOT certified Avatar Carbon 2, weighs a scant 840 grams in the medium shell size, which indicates that Kali should have no problem making good on its promise.
|Many gravity riders prefer the extra protection of a DOT-certified Motocross helmet and, up to now, had to trade the extra measure of security for added bulk and weight. Kali's Shiva provides moto-level protection in a well-ventilated, lightweight and compact package that is truly a downhill helmet. On the bike, the Shiva stays cool, but it doesn't feel quite as well vented as the Avatar-2, which ranks at the top of the list for comfort. Kali says they will offer three shell sizes, each with liners in two thicknesses. The large-sized shell with Kali's size-medium padding fit my head snugly and I usually wear a medium or a small/medium in popular helmet sizes. Inside, the liner presses evenly around the skull and the fit is snug enough to keep the Shiva from moving independently from the head without putting undue pressure on it. DH riders who go big will surely like the new Shiva. Compared to a moto helmet, it feels like there is almost nothing on your head. The question that begs to be answered now is: when the DOT-approved Shiva arrives this Summer, will gravity riders be tempted to use it when they take their Motos out? I probably would. - RC |